Baby Gear: The Necessities and the Niceties

While Traveling with Baby

Car Seat

This is the single most important item you can purchase for your baby -- nothing will do more to protect your brand-new bundle of joy, and hospitals generally won't allow you to take the baby home without a car seat. It's best to get a new seat rather than a used one or a hand-me-down. See our print-out guide to using and choosing a car seat for tips.

Niceties: Car seat supplies.

When packing up for a road trip, you may want to bring Baby's favorite play thing or lovey, but you can pass on the following items: car-seat toys, a sunshade, and extra mirrors for parents to look at Baby (these can be distracting for drivers).

Stroller

You might want to think about skipping the elaborate carriage-style stroller, which is only used for baby's first three or four months. Instead, invest in a combo car-seat-stroller travel system instead (especially good for suburban lifestyles with lots of driving), or save up for a well-made umbrella stroller, which can be used from when the baby is able to sit on her own until she's a three or four years old. In the meantime, try to borrow a fully reclinable baby carriage (check first to make sure it hasn't been recalled) or use a front carrier or a sling to tote your newborn.

Niceties: Strollers with lots of bells and whistles.

Unless you're an avid jogger, you don't need a jogging or all-terrain stroller. And it is OK to skip the full-reclinable carriage strollers, too.

Baby Carrier

When a wheeled carrier isn't appropriate or needed, these other options come in very handy. Front carriers and slings free up your hands, are great for baby-parent bonding, and are very packable. Some models have been recalled, so check first if you are borrowing one. An infant carrier, usually a molded bucket seat lined with soft cushioning, often doubles as a car seat (see above) and/or part of a travel system. Some parents also find that babies love to sleep in their infant carriers, even at home.

Niceties: A backpack-style carrier.

Although some parents swear by this bit of gear -- you can't use it with a newborn. So add this item to your list of gear to consider when Baby is a bit older.

How to Pick the Perfect Stroller for Your Baby
How to Pick the Perfect Stroller for Your Baby

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